In the last 48 hours, one video has been making the rounds on Facebook faster than most. You may have even seen it yourself: In it, a young girl receives, and then giddily opens, an exciting new present. Inside, a brand new American Girl doll stands, waiting to be played with. But before she removes it from its box, she reads a letter inside.
“What? No. You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s got a leg like me!” she exclaims after reading, as she opens the box further to reveal that just like her, her brand new doll has a prosthetic leg.
And just like that, she tears it from its box and hugs it close, as her family looks on and her little sister squeals beside her with happiness.
In the hours since it was first shared Wednesday, it’s racked up over 9 million views and 103,000 shares. And it’s easy to see why: It’s absolutely heartwarming.
The story behind the video gets even better, too. As it turns out, the little girl in the video is a 10-year-old named Emma. According to the video, her family purchased the American Girl doll weeks earlier, before sending it on to A Step Ahead Prosthetics, a company that specializes in crafting prosthetic limbs. Recently, A Step Ahead teamed with American Girl to create more one-of-a-kind dolls for girls with limb loss. And ever since, scenes like the one in Emma’s living room have been playing out all over the country.
According to A Step Ahead, CEO Erik Schaffer has four daughters himself, and his personal motto — which has now become the company’s motto — is to “live your life without limitations.” And that sentiment certainly shines through in the work that they do.
Soon after receiving Emma’s doll, A Step Ahead fitted her (at no extra charge) with her very own prosthetic leg, and wrote Emma the beautiful personalized letter she reads in the video — one which brought on a torrent of joyful tears, both for Emma and viewers across the Internet.
The lovely company has since invited Emma and her family to come and tour their facility and, amazingly, to design her very own prosthetic leg.
At the end of the video, Emma’s dad asks her, “What do you say to the people?” to which Emma responds through tears, “Thank you! Thank you for making a doll like me.”
After watching the video myself, her words are ones I won’t soon forget. To A Step Ahead, I’d like to extend my own thank you, on behalf of all special needs families. But I’d also like to thank Emma’s parents, for sharing such a powerful video, for bringing me my own tears of happiness, and for offering us all a glimpse into the tender heart of a little girl that has chosen to live a life of joy, without limitations.